Pennsylvania motorists might have heard about a regulation that was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that would mandate the installation and use of electronic logging devices in large trucks. A lawsuit was filed against the FMCSA by two owner-operators who claimed that the rule would violate their rights to privacy.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit disagreed and held that the mandate does not violate the constitutional rights to privacy. This means that the mandate is still set to be implemented by December 2017. The devices will automatically log when the trucks are in use, helping to prevent hours-of-service violations and logbook falsifications.
In 2010, the 7th Circuit ruled that an earlier version of the rule that was proposed at that time did violate the privacy rights of truck drivers and was unconstitutional. That rule required the installation of cameras in the trucks. This version does not. It is unclear whether or not the owner-operators will file an appeal with the Supreme Court of the United States.
These types of federal trucking regulations are designed to reduce the chance that trucks will be involved in accidents. Many big rig collisions are caused by truck drivers who become drowsy after spending too many hours on the road and doze off behind the wheel. In some cases it is their choice to exceed the hours of service limits when in others it is due to pressure by the trucking company. Occupants of other vehicles who have been injured in such an accident may want to meet with an attorney in order to determine the party that should be held responsible for their losses.